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Sometimes couples feel stuck in difficult and potentially very painful situations. These can vary from a couple who is distressed because of repeated arguing, or struggling to move forward from difficult situations that happened in the couple’s past, or losing hope because of experienced distance or disconnection between the couple; amongst others. Some couples may opt to address such difficulties through therapy. For this reason, in this blog, which will be divided into two parts, I wished to share some information about Systemic Therapy with couples; hoping to address some common queries about the topic.

What is Systemic Therapy?

Systemic Therapy is a form of psychotherapy. Through Systemic Therapy, the client, be it an individual, a couple or a family, can become more aware of the patterns and dynamics that are keeping the problems that are being experienced alive and prominent in the clients’ lives. While identifying such patterns is an important aspect in therapy, the focus of therapy is generally on finding out how the clients can use their strengths and resources with the aim of shifting these patterns into something new.

Should we come to therapy together?

While different modalities of therapies work through different methods, in Systemic Therapy it would be ideal if, should this be an option, both parties of the couple attend couple therapy together. This is because Systemic Therapy focuses on the dynamics and interactions between the parties in a relationship, aiming to bring about a change that includes these different parties. For example, if two partners are feeling distant from one another, it would be ideal if the themes such as connection and intimacy are tackled within the relationship with the involvement of both partners.

Is this my fault? Is this my partner’s fault?

Certain experiences and situations can result in us feeling angry, disappointed and hurt by our partners and their actions. We may find ourselves expressing these emotions through blaming the other person. Such emotions would be spoken about and processed in therapy; ultimately with the aim of taking the therapy process to a further level. This is where an important process in Systemic Therapy happens; which is that of identifying what patterns are keeping the couple stuck in their problem. These patterns would generally include the way both parties are interacting with one another and what each member is contributing to these dynamics. This is why Systemic Therapy invites both parties to reflect about what they themselves can contribute differently to the relationship with the intention of bringing about a different outcome.

Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on rebecca@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.